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Pitch In for Earth Day

This idea may seem recycled, but it can't be said enough: This is the only planet we have, and we have to take care of it. Everyone can pitch in and the time to get kids into the habit is when they're young. Like putting on their seatbelts every time they get in a car, there are a few simple things they can do to protect the Earth's future, and in reality, their own.

  • Prevent trash! Sooner or later, we're going to run out of places to bury our garbage. It's not like landfills are invisible either. Like cell phone towers conspicuously covered with evergreen branches sticking out like a sore thumb over area highways, landfills are obvious. Even the grass covering on top of the big mound of our waste hidden beneath doesn't disguise what it truly is. Teach kids to reuse bags, use those fabric bags many stores sell (and some give away), and recycle plastic and paper bags. Print only what's necessary from the computer. Donating items that can be used and enjoyed by someone else. Don't buy as much to being with.
  • Save water! Use cloth towels, real silverware, and regular dinner plates. Wash them by hand, turning on the water only to wet dirty and rinse clean dishes or running a full dishwasher load (early or late in the day when electricity demand is lower). Turn off the water when brushing teeth and wash fuller loads of laundry. Hang clothes out to dry (within limits -- ok, neighborhood associations?) or use an energy-saving dryer (and don't fluff five times to de-wrinkle things before finally getting them out and folding them).
  • Sort items for recycling or, if you live in a township that combines items, just recycle! It's just as easy to put items in the recycle bin as the trash can, yes? Do what I do with smaller plastic bottles -- pretend you're on the 76ers and toss the item like a basketball hoping to get it into the box for 2 points!
  • Grow something! Grow an herb garden (they come in boxes at craft, home, and home improvement stores). Grow tomatoes (see previous note about stores). Grow flowers, which help keep bees going which help to keep our food supply going (it's all connected, people!). Or plant a tree -- for the beauty of it, in memory of someone, because it's a good thing for the environment, because it's fun.

There are so many ways we all can help the world and protect it for future generations. For the young ones and for the young at heart not yet participating in this endeavor which helps us all, the time to plant the seed is now.

Author: Tara Lynn Johnson, Philadelphia-region freelance writer